- The Washington Times - Sunday, December 7, 2003

Some of the country’s brightest students competed yesterday for a $100,000 grand prize in one of the top science research contests for high school students.

“Basically, some of the teenagers here are geniuses,” said Jim Miller, a spokesman for the Siemens Westinghouse Competition in Math, Science and Technology.

Albert Hoser, chairman and chief operating officer of the Siemens Foundation, said math and science are “the pillars of how we live.”

Six prizes will be awarded today to some of the 12 finalists, who competed as individuals and in teams. The smallest prize is a $10,000 scholarship.

Among the projects entered this year were the discovery of a previously unknown active galaxy and a computer model that could help control the deadly West Nile virus.

“It is very difficult to pick a winner,” Mr. Hoser said. “This is the cream of the cream of the crop.”

The finalists were selected from about 1,200 competitors.

Mason Hedberg, 17, a senior at North Attleboro High School in Massachusetts, presented his idea for cancer-fighting drug compounds.

He became interested in the research when his grandmother was diagnosed with spinal cancer.

Win or lose, Mr. Hedberg is working to secure a patent for the project. He has applied to Brown University in Providence, R.I., and plans to major in biology.

“My dream career would be to be a physician-scientist of some kind,” Mr. Hedberg said.

The first-place winner also will be invited to ring the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange tomorrow.

The New Jersey-based Siemens Westinghouse Foundation is in its fifth year. It distributes more than $1 million annually in scholarships, awards and grants.


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